At a dedicatory ceremony, 3rd District Supervisor Jeff Stone and other county officials lauded the many community needs that would be filled by the new Hemet Service Center at 749 State Street.
The new center will serve many purposes, but foremost will be assistance to local job seekers to improve their chances of finding employment.
“The number one issue in Riverside County and in the San Jacinto Valley is jobs,” Stone said during the dedication.
Formerly a closed Smart and Final Market, construction for the Center began in April and finished in November, at a cost of $1.7 million. The Center will house many community services under one roof. “It’s exciting to unveil anything,” said Stone, “but this is a different kind of ribbon cutting. This [center] will touch the lives of many people. I’m happy to be Supervisor to help give a hand up, not a hand out, to those who need help.”
At a blustery Thursday, Dec. 15 outdoor ceremony, Stone and others spoke about services available at this multi-function facility. Stone listed state-of-the-art computer labs and other assistance for job seekers, as well as offices and staff to address issues of aging, elder abuse, veterans, children and support for grandparents raising grandchildren.
“You walk in the door and [staff at the center will help] match your skills to available jobs and provide help with creating resumes and honing interview skills,” he explained. During the tour that followed, the computer labs jobseekers use for research were already in heavy use. With two labs each equipped with 20, conference and interview rooms replete with high definition video monitors, center facilities are cutting edge. “We have the fastest Internet in the county,” said staffer and tour guide Kevin Caldwell. “It’s better than the stuff I have at home. This is where I’d come [to research].”
Caldwell explained how Center staff assists jobseekers in crafting individual employment plans and on use of online and video resources available at the Center. The Center also offers a weeklong boot camp that includes intensives in resume preparation and interview skills.
Among services the Center provides to seniors are “caravan” transportation to essential services; cell phones for emergency “911” use for those who live alone; surplus food distribution; and, under the umbrella of Adult Protective Services, advocacy for elders who have suffered abuse in the form of fraud. Stone noted that Curtailing Abuse Relating to the Elderly (CARE) has recovered $12 million this year alone for those defrauded, and $88 million in the years CARE has been functioning.
A staff member of State Senator Bill Emmerson (R-37) presented Stone with a Certificate of Recognition on the dedication of the Center. “Please tell Senator Emmerson we appreciate and honor his support,” said Stone.